Ocean Currents » Marine Life http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 21 Apr 2017 20:52:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Nation’s First Regional Ocean Plans http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/12/07/nations-first-regional-ocean-plans/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/12/07/nations-first-regional-ocean-plans/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:41:30 +0000 Amy Trice http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13440

Ocean Conservancy congratulates the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for finalizing the first regional ocean plans in the nation. From Virginia to Maine, state and regional ocean users, decision-makers, tribes and the fisheries management councils came together to plan for the future of the ocean in a coordinated way. These plans are the culmination of years of work, bringing both regions towards a more holistic, science-based and stakeholder informed ocean management process that will ensure the ocean economy remains strong while ocean ecosystems remain healthy.

These plans are full of incredible information, detailed coordination objectives and future goals for the states and regions. We’ve provided a quick refresher on the basic ingredients of an ocean plan that you can read before diving into exactly what the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast plans say.

A tool for coordination, reducing conflict and finding balance

Unique ecosystems, marine mammals and fish species are found off the Atlantic coast. This region is also home to some of the most rapidly-shifting ocean conditions in the world. Our ocean is one of the major drivers of the U.S. economy and is a very busy place as a result. Both the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic contribute significantly to the local, national and international economy, through robust and historic ocean uses like commercial and recreational fishing, recreation and tourism, shipping, maritime trades and more. Both regions are also leading the nation in offshore renewable energy, thus contributing to the new clean energy economy.

We work and live in a blue economy; yet, how do we balance all these uses in a smart and effective way?

The solution to this is quite simple—good data and better coordination. That is where the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic ocean plans come in.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Plans

Both the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic ocean plans take data and information on human uses coupled with cutting-edge ecological data to help managers have a better perspective of all the ocean uses and needs offshore. A key element of both ocean plans is a series of non-regulatory commitments from federal and state agencies, tribes and the fishery management councils to use the data, coordinate more effectively and talk to people who use the ocean earlier in the decision-making process. This collaborative process takes us from the theoretical foundations of ecosystem-based management to real world application, revolutionizing ocean management along the way.

Each ocean plan is developed in a way that reflects the needs, management issues and future trends relevant to the region. Overarching principles of both plans include:

  • Science-Based Approach: The Northeast and Mid-Atlanticocean data portals are a critical component of these plans, incorporating multiple data sources in one central location. The planning process was one of the first comprehensive attempts to collect, analyze and synthesize information, including:
    • Revolutionary ecological data characterizing populations of marine fish, sea turtles, whales and seabirds with data ranging from seasonal trends of marine species to important whale migration routes.
    • 150 marine life species characterized from scientific, peer-reviewed data.
    • 10 ocean use sectors reflected in the plan including commercial and recreational fishing, ports and maritime, recreational boating, surfers, as well as undersea cable and offshore energy developers.
  • A Unique Discussion Forum: Both ocean plans allow relevant governmental, non-governmental, stakeholders and the public to coordinate among themselves and to involve ocean user groups early in the decision-making process, coming together to address difficult issues. The coordination commitments by managers to have early dialogues and gather information with those who use the ocean is invaluable and a huge step toward making better, more informed decisions.

Diving Deeper: Understanding Key Components of the Ocean Plans

The Northeast Regional Ocean Plan is over a decade in the making with the formal planning process beginning in 2012. The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan’s formal planning process began in 2013 using a similar approach as the Northeast ocean plan, with some regionally-relevant commitments like actions to address ocean acidification and marine debris.

To illustrate the types of data, information and commitments made in both of the newly approved ocean plans, I would like to use the Northeast Ocean Plan as a model.

The Northeast Ocean Plan contains five chapters, that build from a general description of the ocean ecosystem and history of ocean management in the region, to specific descriptions of ten ocean use sectors along with action items federal and state agencies, tribes and the fishery management council have agreed to.

Both plans address similar management issues ranging from economic to environmental. For example, the Northeast ocean plan characterizes the following ten management areas:

  • Marine Life and Habitat
  • Cultural Resources
  • Marine Transportation
  • National Security
  • Commercial and Recreational Fishing
  • Recreation
  • Energy and Infrastructure
  • Aquaculture
  • Offshore Sand Resources
  • Restoration

I will use examples from the “Marine Life and Habitat” and “Commercial and Recreational Fishing” sub-chapters to highlight some of the details contained in the plan.

Exploring the ocean plan: Marine Life and Habitat

An unprecedented amount of peer-reviewed data to characterize the distribution and abundance of marine life and habitat was collected and synthesized as part of the Northeast Ocean Plan. The plan, using information found on the data portal, begins defining more complex measures of ecosystems such as biodiversity and species richness. Over 80 regional scientists and managers informed data on 29 marine mammal, 40 bird and 82 fish species. Physical habitats such as oceanographic properties and sediment type coupled with biological habitats such as eelgrass, shellfish beds and primary producers essential to the marine food web are also found within the data portal and referenced within the plan.

Decision-makers made commitments in the plan to reference this extensive ecosystem data to inform management decisions, meaning as a potential project is proposed offshore, marine life and habitat are more fully considered. This approach ensures smarter, more informed conservation decisions that are in balance with the economy. In the end, management at a regional scale means science-based conservation gains and economic decisions are made that result in better outcomes overall.

Exploring the ocean plan: Commercial fishing

The plan characterizes the current economy of commercial fisheries in the Northeast and highlights the benefits it brings to the region. It also broadly addresses the dynamic nature of fisheries. Further, it highlights areas where future development may result in conflict with commercial fisheries, ranging from sand and gravel mining, offshore energy, routine activities like scientific studies, ship-based seafloor mapping projects and the dredging of port channels.

Action items reference a range of maps related to commercial fishing found on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, which depict the spatial footprint of fishing vessels operating in certain federally-managed fisheries and the geographic extent of certain federal fishery management areas. These data are intended to provide a regional perspective for agencies and project developers, giving insight into whether potential activities may impact fisheries. In the past, these data were not easily accessible to all agencies or ocean users. By increasing data accessibility, the plan will improve coordination among ocean managers and agencies and improve communication with fishermen much earlier than has happened in the past. In the end, this is meant to avoid and minimize impacts to fishermen and the habitats where they fish.

The Plan also identifies research priorities and data gaps that need to be filled to improve our understanding of commercial fisheries. Data gaps identified in the plan include: the need to monitor ocean chemistry changes such as ocean acidification; enhancing our understanding of biodiversity of marine species and the resilience of the ecosystem with changing conditions; and, understanding shifts in fish distribution and abundance and how that impacts commercial and recreational fisheries. Other data gaps include: the need to improve the characterization of commercial fishing activity for fisheries that do not use Vessel Monitoring Systems; better characterization of locally important fisheries like lobster; and, improved spatial data on where recreational and charter boating occurs.

What’s Next?

Now that both plans are finalized, the work will begin in the regions to put them into action. The Regional Planning Bodies will continue to meet with ocean users and the public to advance regional priorities.

These ocean plans are supported by a broad range of ocean users because of the extensive engagement throughout the development of these plans. They also have strong support from the congressional delegation, signaling the value decision-makers at all levels see in these plans.

Ocean Conservancy is excited about the finalization of the nation’s first regional ocean plans and will continue to work with a broad range of ocean users as future iterations of the plan are developed and data gaps are filled. Stay tuned for what’s next!

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Five Reasons to Love Manatees http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/11/09/five-reasons-to-love-manatees/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/11/09/five-reasons-to-love-manatees/#comments Mon, 09 Nov 2015 16:00:28 +0000 Katie Green http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=11006

November is the month for cozy sweaters and cold weather. Sadly, manatees don’t have the luxury of going out and buying warmer clothes to prepare for winter weather. Beginning in November, many manatees make their way from the cooling Mid-Atlantic coast to the warm waters around Florida. That is why November has the honor of being Manatee Awareness Month!

This month got off to a great start with Polar Bear Week, we just didn’t think November could get any better — but it did — with Manatee Awareness Month! To celebrate our favorite sea cow, here are a few reasons why we love these gentle, easy going marine mammals.

1. Manatees are amazing mothers.

Manatees are pregnant with their young for about 12 months (and we thought nine months was a long time). For up to two years after birth, manatee calves are completely dependent on their mothers for food and protection. Although manatees only give birth every 2 to 5 years, sea cow mothers are excellent at the job. Raising their young is quite the time commitment, making manatees some of the most dedicated mothers out there.

2. Manatees are mermaids. 

During Christopher Columbus’s first trip to the Americas, his company recorded a sighting of three mermaids in the waters surrounding the island of Haiti. He reported seeing these mermaids rise from the sea near his route. Later it was discovered that these mythical mermaids were most likely manatees. Manatees have vertebrae in their neck allowing them to turn their heads similar to humans, and can raise themselves out of the water by performing “tail stands” in shallow areas. Sea cows also have finger-like bones on their front limbs which can resemble arms and hands. With these characteristics, we can see why it would be easy to confuse manatees and mermaids. Mermaids are pretty cool, but manatees are just as magical.

3. Manatees know how to relax. 

These calming sea cows live life at a slower pace. Manatees generally swim at a pace of about three to five miles per hour. When they aren’t feeding or traveling, manatees will spend the majority of their time resting. Unlike most humans, they have time to fit in a few small naps throughout the day and night. While resting, manatees can be fully submerged without taking a breath for up to 20 minutes! These are the kind of animals we would want to spend a vacation with, taking it slow and relaxing 24/7.

4. Manatees have exceptional senses. 

Manatees have relatively small eyes in relation to their large body. What their eyes lack in size, they make up for in utility. Manatees have a retractable membrane to protect their eyes while also allowing them to see very well. Although these gentle giants have no visible, outward ear structures, they have large inner ear bones that promote strong hearing.

5. Manatees hate the cold. 

The only thing manatees hate more than a fast-paced lifestyle is the cold winter weather. Manatees head for shallow, warmer water in the colder months beginning in November. Due to their low metabolic rates and low body fat, they are unable to survive in water colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite their large size, manatees have very minimal body fat making them extra sensitive to cooling temperatures in the winter months.

Manatees are wondrous and gentle creatures that are, sadly, endangered. Because they are unable to survive in the cold, manatees must make the difficult journey towards warmer water each year. Boat strikes are one of the biggest threats to migrating manatees. November is the month to raise awareness about the declining manatee population and discover what you can do to help.

To help the sea cows, when boating, always obey posted speed zones and go slowly in shallow waters where manatees tend to rest, feed and migrate to. Watch for manatee signs and never throw trash, debris or fishing line overboard.

You can also help on land by picking up trash that could end up in the manatees’ habitats. Spending a few extra minutes at the end of your beach visit to clean up your surroundings can benefit manatees for a lifetime. The most important way you can help manatees is to always be respectful. If you are lucky enough to see a manatee in the wild, never disturb them. Admiring from afar is safest for you and the manatees.

Interested in seeing more awesome manatee photos and learning more about our favorite sea cows? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We will be sharing fun facts all month long. Happy Manatee Awareness Month! 

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Lessons From History on Ocean Acidification http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/29/lessons-from-history-on-ocean-acidification/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/29/lessons-from-history-on-ocean-acidification/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:17:08 +0000 Sarah Cooley http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10165 fish and corals in the Florida Keys

Photo: NOAA

Part of my job involves fielding worried emails and phone calls about alarming-sounding science news, especially when it relates to ocean acidification. Recently a study in Science made a big splash, generating headlines like “Ocean acidification caused the largest mass extinction ever” and “Acidic oceans helped fuel extinction.” And those are some of the calmer headlines. Naturally, people are saying, “This is scary stuff! Are we going to see the same thing?” Let’s take a look.

When studying major global changes like warming, ocean acidification, or ocean oxygen loss, scientists often look back in the geological record to see what happened when Earth experienced similar conditions before. That helps scientists put global change in the proper perspective.

In past geological ages when volcanic activity has been high, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen and dramatically changed the Earth’s climate and ocean chemistry. Last week’s Science study focuses on one of these periods—the Permo-Triassic (P-T) boundary. It’s one of the most “rapid” releases of volcanic carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, taking 60,000 years. As slow as that seems, it’s fast for the Earth—60,000 years out of a 4.5 billion year old planet’s life is like half a day of a 100-year-old person’s life. All this volcanic carbon dioxide drove rapid ocean acidification towards the end of the P-T boundary, and a major extinction of ocean life followed. Marine life with calcified shells and skeletons, like corals, shellfish and calcifying algae, were pretty much wiped out.

This science study offers insight into what extreme, unchecked ocean acidification could look like. The rate of carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere that drove acidification during the P-T boundary was about the same as today’s. However, the P-T boundary isn’t exactly like today. The total amount of carbon released then was nearly five times as large as ALL the fossil fuel reserves on Earth. Also, ocean pH dropped by up to 0.7 pH units during the P-T boundary, but ocean pH has only decreased today by 0.1 units, with another 0.2-0.3 units expected by 2100. Most scientists agree we probably won’t see wholesale extinction of shelled animals and corals from today’s ocean acidification. But if we even just put a dent in marine populations over mere moments of the Earth’s life, that’s pretty scary. To the Earth, the 200 years we’ve been emitting carbon dioxide is like two minutes of a 100-year-old’s life.  We’ve made huge changes to the ocean in a small amount of time.

What are our options? To avoid repeating geological history, mankind needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions swiftly and decisively. Nations are pledging to do this in preparation for this year’s United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 21) meeting. Researchers are exploring how to do this in ways that will lead to overall socioeconomic benefits in the short and long terms. Some programs, like the long-running U.S. Energy Star program, have already shown that citizens can benefit financially while saving energy. Meanwhile, local and regional governments are seeking ways to cut their own carbon dioxide emissions. Maine and Maryland have recently called for reductions in carbon emissions as one of several steps they’ll take to combat ocean acidification, echoing Washington State’s resolve. West Coast states and British Columbia are working on this collaboratively. At the same time, businesspeople are finding ways to adapt to, or stave off, some of the worst effects of ocean acidification. But since humans depend on marine life of all types, calcified or not, protecting creatures in the ocean is actually in our own self-interest. Formally committing to cut our carbon dioxide emissions, which every country can do at this year’s COP 21 meeting, is a big but needed next step to protect the oceans and ourselves.

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Trashing the Ocean: New Study Provides First Estimate of How Much Plastic Flows into the Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/13/trashing-the-ocean-new-study-provides-first-estimate-of-how-much-plastic-flows-into-the-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/13/trashing-the-ocean-new-study-provides-first-estimate-of-how-much-plastic-flows-into-the-ocean/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:00:27 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9855

8 million metric tons. That’s 17 billion pounds. That’s a big number. It’s also the amount of plastics that scientists have now estimated flow into the ocean every year from 192 countries with coastal access.

A groundbreaking study was published yesterday in the international journal Science and released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement for Science in San Jose, California. This work is part of an ongoing international collaboration among scientists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara to determine the scale, scope and impacts of marine debris – including plastics – on the health of the global ocean. Spearheaded by Dr. Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer from the University of Georgia, and other experts in oceanography, waste management and materials science, this is the first study to rigorously estimate the flow of plastic materials into the global ocean.

For the last decade, scientific evidence has been mounting that once plastic enters the ocean it can threaten a wide diversity of marine life (from the smallest of plankton to the largest of whales) through entanglement, ingestion or contamination. The images of how plastics kill wildlife aren’t pretty. But if we are going to stop this onslaught we must know how much material is entering and from where.

The numbers published yesterday are daunting: the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land each year exceeds 4.8 million tons (Mt), and may be as high as 12.7 Mt. This is one to three orders of magnitude (10 – 1000 fold) greater than the amount recently reported in the high-concentration garbage patches. The amount entering the ocean is growing rapidly with the global increase in population and plastics use, with the potential for cumulative inputs of plastic waste in the ocean as high as 250 Mt within 10 years—that’s more than 550 billion pounds. Discharges of plastic come from around the globe but the largest quantities are estimated to be coming from a relatively small number of rapidly developing economies. In fact, Dr. Jambeck’s study determined that the top 20 countries account for 83% of the mismanaged plastic waste available to enter the ocean.

This last point is important.  It indicates that the global ocean plastic problem is actually solvable if we target our efforts at the regions where the flow is greatest. And the greatest opportunity to stem the flow exists in a small number of countries in Asia. Jambeck and her colleagues calculated that improving waste management by 50% in the top 20 countries would result in a nearly 40% decline in inputs of plastic to the ocean.  While this certainly won’t be easy, this would make a big dent in the problem.  To do so, we must move from a mindset of solely trying to clean up the ocean to one where we work together to prevent plastics from entering the ocean in the first place.  At Ocean Conservancy, we should know.  For 30 years, we have coordinated the International Coastal Cleanup and our data have shown this problem isn’t getting any better. Now, Dr. Jambeck’s findings confirm it is actually getting worse.

At Ocean Conservancy, we are committed to science-based solutions to the oceans greatest challenges like food security, climate change and ocean pollution. Yesterday’s study should be a call to arms to improve waste collection systems and practices in those parts of the world where the contribution to plastic pollution in the ocean is greatest. The clock is ticking; we must confront this challenge before plastics overwhelm the ocean.

As ocean advocates, our mission is to protect the long-term health of our ocean. Yesterday’s study shows that to do so we must look toward the land for solutions.

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What’s Lurking in the Ocean’s Depths? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/29/whats-lurking-in-the-oceans-depths/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/29/whats-lurking-in-the-oceans-depths/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:00:53 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9419

Trick or treating in the ocean can be a matter of life or death. Meet four ocean creatures who might just surprise you!

Vampire Squid

You’ve no doubt heard of the famous vampire bat, but did you know that there’s a vampire squid? Don’t worry. It won’t fly out of the ocean to suck your blood. These cephalopods don’t even spray ink like other squids. They produce a bioluminescent mucus cloud that can glow for up to 10 minutes. They were given their names due to their blood red eyes, which can also look blue depending the lighting. Their bodies definitely reflect the gothic nature of vampires by being black or red. A web like material connects their tentacles. They can even envelop their bodies in their tentacles and webbing to shield themselves from predators.

Vampire squids live in really cold depths of the ocean with very little oxygen. This makes them far less threatening to humans than their name suggests. In order to conserve energy, they simply drift along the ocean currents and only eat dead plankton and fecal matter. Instead of fangs, vampire squids eat with their beaks.

Goblin Shark

The goblin shark is an incredibly amazing and terrifying shark. Males can grow up to 8 feet long and females can be up to 11 feet in length. They’re often a pale white color with blue fins. Their most distinctive feature is their jaws. Unlike your jaws that move up and down, their jaws can project from their mouths like the movie Alien! Goblin sharks locate their prey by using electroreceptors in the nose. Because these sharks inhabit the dark ocean depths, fishermen can sleep well at night, knowing that only a few have ever been caught.

Their range is suspected to be very wide. These bottom dwellers have been documented in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

Smallspine Spookfish

The smallspine spookfish, lives in the deep ocean. As their name suggests, they’re pale white like ghosts and have an elongated snout, which can track prey with sensory nerve endings. In fact, they sort of resemble the ghost dog from the Nightmare Before Christmas! Not many have been seen or documented because they live in extreme depths, like more than a mile below the ocean’s surface. As if they weren’t scary cool already, they also have a venomous spine. Unfortunately not much else is known about them, so they’re a regular fish of mystery.

Giant Devil Ray

The devil ray isn’t as scary as it sounds. They’re not actually named for their devilish behavior, but rather from the fins on top of their heads that resemble devil horns. The only way they might scare you is if you see a large dark shape in the water before you realize what it is! They often sport dark colors on the top of their bodies and are typically white on the bottom half. They swim using their pectoral fins, flapping them almost like wings. Giant devil rays are really gentle giants. They only feed on plankton and small fishes.

The only truly devilish thing about them is that they’re endangered. By-catch is a major threat to this species. Since they spend a lot of time close to the surface, ocean traffic and oil spills also pose serious threats to these gentle giants.

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Happy World Octopus Day! http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/08/happy-world-octopus-day/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/08/happy-world-octopus-day/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:56 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9319

Photo: Jonas Gozjak

It’s impossible not to love octopuses. These cephalopods seem to have every evolutionary advantage you could imagine. Here are six of our favorites:

  1. The first and most obvious (it’s even in their name) is that octopuses have eight arms. Their arms are for much more than just reaching a difficult itch. If threatened, an octopus can sever one of its own arms to get away. The lost limb will grow back completely with all of its function. Because of its nine brains and more than half of its neurons being in its arms, individual arms can solve problems—like opening a jar—independently from the rest of the body. Octopuses also taste things by feeling them with their arms and skin.
  2. The beak is the only hard part of an octopus’ body, making it an extremely flexible animal. They can fit through anything as long as their beak can. Octopuses use their beaks to crack into their favorite shellfish meals. They can also produce a neurotoxin that paralyzes their prey and enzymes that help break down their food. The only octopus in the world with venom dangerous to humans is the blue-ringed octopus found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  3. Playing hide and seek with an octopus would probably be a nightmare. They can change the color and texture of their skin to match their surroundings. This handy camouflage keeps them safe from predators. The mimic octopus seems to have mastered this ability. It can manipulate its color and shape to look like an entirely different sea creature. It will even choose what to mimic depending on the danger or predator.
  4. Octopuses may not have mastered calligraphy, but they certainly know how to use their ink. Being able to spray ink as a smokescreen is another great way to avoid being eaten. Their ink isn’t just a ninja smoke bomb either. It can irritate the eyes of the predator or even infringe its sense of smell and taste, making it harder for them to come after the octopus.
  5. Like all of their other skills, an octopus’ maternal instinct is quite amazing. Take the giant Pacific octopus for example. This octopus can lay up to 10,000 eggs and spends the better part of a year taking care of her brood. Making sure these eggs are properly cleaned and safe from predators is a full time job, so she gives up everything for them, including eating. The mother unfortunately dies soon after the eggs hatch. Lucky for the babies, they have all the cool traits of being an octopus to protect them now that they’re on their own.
  6. On top of all of that, the octopus’ incredible intelligence has earned them the title of the smartest invertebrates in the world. Research continues to show that octopus have extreme intelligence. They use tools like rocks to protect their homes and take abandoned shells for temporary shelter. Some people even believed an octopus named Paul was psychic and could correctly guess winners of the World Cup. We wouldn’t bet on that though.

Octopuses definitely rank high on our list of the coolest ocean animals. Of all their amazing abilities, which one would you want?

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Celebrating Victories This World Oceans Day http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/08/celebrating-victories-this-world-oceans-day/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/08/celebrating-victories-this-world-oceans-day/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 13:00:20 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8438

Photo: Michele Hoffman Trotter

Happy World Oceans Day! While we continue to fight for a healthy ocean, today is the perfect time to reflect on recent ocean victories.

  1. More than half a million volunteers picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash in honor of International Coastal Cleanup.
  2. Maine and Maryland became the first East Coast states to enact legislation to combat ocean acidification.
  3. The National Research Council reported that 43 percent of overfished populations in the U.S. have been rebuilt already or will be rebuilt within a decade.
  4. Shell announced that it would not drill for oil in the Arctic in 2014.
  5. The red snapper population is on the rise, which is good news for the species and Gulf fishermen.
  6. In just four months, we removed over 7,000 items of trash from beaches where sea turtles nest thanks to your support.
  7. The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tackled ocean acidification for the first time.
  8. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed as the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  9. Hilton Worldwide announced they are eliminating shark fin dishes from their menus.
  10. President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 invested heavily into the ocean’s health.
  11. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must reassess its original, very low environmental impact analysis on drilling for oil in the Arctic.
  12. Ed Markey, an ocean advocate from Massachusetts, was elected to the U.S. Senate.
  13. Australia created its largest fully protected marine sanctuary.
  14. Virginia’s oyster business is seeing a much-needed boom, showing a healthy bay makes a healthy business.
  15. Twenty-five years later, sea otters have fully recovered after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  16. San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of plastic water bottles.
  17. Indonesia created the world’s largest manta ray sanctuary.
  18. Supporters like you helped us defeat Congressman Bill Flores, a former oil executive, from gutting the National Ocean Policy. With your continued support, we can make a National Ocean Policy a reality.
  19. The National Research Council confirmed the major barriers to safely drilling for oil in the Artic including the lack of infrastructure, information and preparedness to deal with adverse environmental conditions.
  20. YOU stepped up to protect our ocean by following Ocean Conservancy today! Be part of victories like these next year!
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